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Equality California Statement on Governor Brown’s Veto of Critical Legislation to Support LGBTQ Students
September 30, 2018 at 7:23 pm

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2018

CONTACT: Samuel Garrett-Pate, Equality California
PHONE: (323) 848-9801/MOBILE: (973) 476-3770/EMAIL: sam@eqca.org

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Governor Jerry Brown announced on Sunday that he has vetoed AB 2153, legislation authored by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Oakland) and sponsored by Equality California, which would ensure California teachers and school staff have the tools and training they need to support their LGBTQ students. Equality California released the following statement from Executive Director Rick Zbur in response to Governor Brown’s announcement:

“Throughout his career, Governor Brown has been a strong ally to the LGBTQ community and a champion for equality. But high rates of bullying and harassment in schools, disproportionately high rates of suicide and lower rates of school completion clearly demonstrate California schools aren’t doing enough to support LGBTQ students. And preliminary responses to our Safe and Supportive Schools Survey from over 130 districts across the state show that far too few are providing adequate training to ensure teachers and school staff have the tools they need to provide LGBTQ students with safe and supportive learning environments.

“While we respect and appreciate Governor Brown’s desire to give schools ‘flexibility,’ the status quo is failing California’s LGBTQ students and denying too many a shot at success.

“We’re proud of the bipartisan support that AB 2153 received in the Legislature and grateful to Assemblymember Thurmond for his leadership and the California Teachers Association, the California Federation of Teachers and other education and civil rights organizations who supported AB 2153 for their commitment to passing this critical legislation. We look forward to passing it again next year.”

Studies show that LGBTQ students are more likely to face bullying, harassment and discrimination in schools than their non-LGBTQ peers, disparities that can negatively affect academic outcomes and result in higher rates of school dropout, homelessness, depression, suicidal ideation and poverty. Equipping public school teachers and staff with resources and training to create safer school environments is a critical step toward addressing these persistent disparities. Unfortunately, preliminary results of Equality California’s Safe & Supportive Schools Index, scheduled for release in January 2019, indicate that too many California school districts across the state do not provide their teachers or staff with adequate training.

AB 2153 was supported by both of the state’s teachers unions, the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT), as well as the California Association of School Counselors, ACLU of California, Common Sense Kids Action, Education Trust—West and San Francisco Unified School District, among others.

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Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org


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